The Spring Budget – The Detail

On March 6, 2024, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered a spring budget aimed at boosting public morale and securing voter support, especially important as an election looms and the UK faces economic challenges. This budget focuses on easing financial strains by lowering National Insurance for everyone, tweaking VAT rules for small businesses, and adjusting child benefit charges to support families. Plus, there’s a small break on property sales taxes for some, but no changes to income or inheritance taxes. Let’s explore what these changes could mean for you.

The first budget announcement was that National Insurance Contributions are again being cut. The government is cutting the main rate of employee National Insurance by 2% from 10% to 8% from 6 April 2024. Combined with the 2% cut announced at Autumn Statement 2023, this will save the average worker on £35,400 over £900 a year.

The government is also cutting a further 2% from the main rate of self-employed National Insurance on top of the 1% cut announced at Autumn Statement 2023. This means that from 6 April 2024 the main rate of Class 4 NICs for the self-employed will now be reduced from 9% to 6%. Combined with the abolition of the requirement to pay Class 2, this will save an average self-employed person on £28,000, around £650 a year.

Following these changes, assessing both salary and dividend options for their tax advantages is advisable. This strategy could optimise your tax position.

The Chancellor raised the VAT registration threshold to £90,000 to alleviate the administrative burden on small businesses and encourage their growth. This change means that smaller businesses can generate more revenue before needing to charge VAT, potentially increasing their competitive edge and allowing them to reinvest savings into their operations. However, businesses approaching this new threshold must plan strategically to manage their growth and VAT responsibilities effectively.

They announced in the budget that Inflation has significantly decreased from 11.1% to 4%, and is expected to reach the 2% target by the second quarter of 2024, according to the OBR. This reduction, occurring faster than previously predicted, indicates a stabilising economy. Last year, the UK experienced minimal growth, indicative of a recession. However, projections show an improvement from early 2024, with the UK predicted to be among the top three fastest-growing G7 economies between 2024-2028. For business owners, this could mean more stable costs, improved consumer spending, and better conditions for growth and investment.

The British government has recently updated the Recovery Loan Scheme with an additional funding provision of £200 million, aiming to support the growth and investment plans of small-scale enterprises. To be eligible for this loan, a business must generate no more than £45 million annually, maintain a sustainable model, and be free from immediate financial distress. The Recovery Loan Scheme is also being renamed The Growth Guarantee Fund as announced in the budget.

Capital allowances offer businesses an effective strategy to decrease their taxable income. This is achieved by allowing companies to deduct the cost of qualifying purchases such as equipment, machinery, and certain types of business vehicles from their profits, leading to tax savings. This approach not only reduces tax liabilities but also encourages reinvestment in the business. The concept of full expensing enables businesses to apply these capital allowances in the same fiscal year the investment is made. The Chancellor recently hinted that full expensing for leased assets would be implemented when it is financially feasible.

At the moment, there is a situation where a household with 2 parents, each earning £49,000 a year, still gets the full Child Benefit, but those with one parent earning over £50,000 will see some or all of the benefit withdrawn. From 6th April 2024 the point at which child benefit will start to be withdrawn will now be at a higher level of earnings i.e. £60,000 not £50,000. Instead of starting to lose child benefit once at least one parent earns over £50,000 a year, it will be £60,000. It will be taken away entirely from £80,000 a year, rather than £60,000. But more importantly, the government is consulting on moving the system from being based on an individual’s salary to a system based on household income. This new system will come in by April 2026. So watch this space!

To address the housing shortage, the government plans to decrease the higher rate of capital gains tax on non-primary residences from 28% to 24% in April. This change aims to encourage more property sales by reducing the tax burden on sellers of investment properties or second homes.

The ‘temporary’ 5p cut in fuel duty is being extended for another 12 months.

The alcohol duty freeze is being extended from 1st August to 1st February.

There is a new ISA in town! This ISA gives savers another £5k tax-free allowance, on top of the current £20k that can be subscribed into an ISA. The only restriction is this new UK ISA needs to be invested in British businesses.

The government is also announcing over £1 billion of new tax reliefs for the UK’s creative industries. This includes introducing a 40% relief from business rates for eligible film studios in England for the next 10 years; introducing a new UK Independent Film Tax Credit; and increasing the rate of tax credit by 5% and removing the 80% cap for visual effects costs in the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit. A permanent extension will be made to tax relief for theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries.

The government plans to phase out the Furnished Holiday Lettings tax benefits starting April 6, 2025, and the relief on stamp duty for multiple dwellings beginning June 1, 2024. Properties under contracts exchanged before March 6, 2024—the day before the budget announcement—will still qualify for the multiple dwelling stamp duty relief, regardless of their actual completion date. Additionally, any transactions completing before June 1, 2024, will be eligible for this relief.

The tax breaks for non-domiciled residents, people who live in the UK, but not domiciled here for tax purposes have been abolished. Currently, foreign nationals who live here, but are taxed in another country, do not have to pay tax on their foreign income for up to 15 years. From April 2025 this is changing. 

For new arrivals, who have a period of 10 years consecutive non-residence, there will be full tax relief for a 4-year period of subsequent UK tax residence on foreign income and gains arising during this 4-year period, during which time this money can be brought to the UK without an additional tax charge. 

Existing tax residents, who have been tax residents for fewer than 4 tax years and are eligible for the scheme, will also benefit from the relief until the end of their 4th year of tax residence. 

There are transitional arrangements being put in place for existing non-doms. 

In Oct 2026 vapers will be taxed more and the tax on cigarettes and tobacco products will go up.

At first glance, it appears the government isn’t directly investing in increasing HMRC’s frontline workforce. However, it’s channeling an additional £140 million to enhance HMRC’s capacity to handle tax debts. Essentially, this can be seen as an allocation aimed at boosting the identification and collection of outstanding taxes. Now might be a prudent time to consider tax investigation insurance, especially if you haven’t already done so. For those who are clients of 1 Accounts, you’ll be pleased to know this service is already included in our offering!

The recent budget may not have met the expectations of many small businesses, as it offered limited new measures for support. However, as a business owner, there are essential steps to take. Ensure your payroll systems are updated to accommodate the new National Insurance contributions starting April 6, 2024. It’s advisable to start planning now—reach out to us to strategise effectively, particularly regarding the upcoming minimum wage adjustments. Now is also a crucial time for personal tax planning, especially considering the changes to child benefit. Review your pension contributions and, for those operating limited companies, reassess your cash flow in light of these changes and keep your forecasts current. Anticipate additional updates from a potential budget announcement later this year, which could bring more changes.

2024 Spring Budget – The Highlights

We’ve got the latest scoop on the recent Spring Budget announcement by the chancellor. Buckle up because there’s a lot to unravel, but we’ve got you covered with the need-to-knows.

Let’s dive into the highlights:

Good news! National Insurance Contributions are getting slashed again. This means more money in your pocket. For employees, the main rate of employee National Insurance is dropping from 10% to 8%, saving the average worker over £900 a year. Self-employed folks are also in luck with a reduction from 9% to 6%.

The threshold for VAT registration is climbing up to £90,000. While some debate its impact, it’s aimed at supporting small business growth.

Inflation is down, and the economy is revving up. With forecasts showing growth on the horizon, it’s a positive sign for businesses.

The post-pandemic recovery loan scheme is extending its support to small businesses with an additional £200 million in funding.

The chancellor hinted that full expensing for leased assets will come soon, but it’s not clear when, likely when it’s affordable.

The threshold for the high-income child benefit charge is going up from £50,000 to £60,000. The upper limit for which the benefit is fully removed is also increasing from £60,000 to £80,000. There are also plans in the future to switch this approach from an individual income basis to a household income basis. However, no date has been put on this further change.

Property owners will see a reduction in Capital Gains Tax on residential properties, and there’s a new UK ISA allowing for tax-free investments in British businesses.

Over £1 billion in tax reliefs are being introduced for the UK’s creative industries, offering support for film studios, independent films, and more.

The Furnished Holiday Lettings tax regime and multiple dwelling stamp duty relief are on the chopping block.

Tax breaks for non-domiciled residents are being phased out starting April 2025.

Brace yourselves, smokers and vapers, as taxes on these products are set to rise in the coming years.

The government is beefing up HMRC’s capabilities to collect more tax, so it’s wise to stay on top of your tax affairs.

In conclusion, while there are some wins and losses in the budget, it’s essential to stay informed and adapt your business strategy accordingly. We’re here to help navigate these changes and ensure your business thrives.

spring budget predictions

Our Spring Budget Predictions

Simplified Guide for Business Owners: Understanding the Spring Budget Predictions

Attention all business owners! The Spring Budget is set to be announced on March 6th, and it will be aired live on BBC1 at 12pm. This is a crucial event, especially with the general election on the horizon. We anticipate significant announcements that could impact your business, particularly in terms of tax changes and economic growth initiatives. Here’s what you need to know in simple terms.

The Budget is a financial statement made by the government every year which outlines its plans for tax changes, spending, and economic strategies. For UK businesses, this means changes in taxes you pay or incentives you might receive.

This is the tax paid on an estate (property, money, and possessions) of someone who has passed away. Currently, there are talks that the government might remove this tax entirely, which could be good news for individuals and families.

These are limits up to which you don’t have to pay income tax. Since April 2022, there haven’t been changes, but there are whispers that these thresholds might increase. This means you might start paying less tax on your earnings, leaving more money in your pocket.

Following a recent cut in National Insurance, we might also see a reduction in income tax rates. This could further reduce the amount of tax you owe from your earnings, enhancing your take-home pay.

This is a government initiative aimed at making it easier for businesses and individuals to manage their taxes online. Although its launch has been delayed, there might be news on when this will finally kick in.

Currently, businesses with a turnover below £85,000 are exempt from registering for VAT. There’s a possibility this threshold could increase, which could mean fewer tax burdens for small businesses and possibly more room for growth.

We are hoping the Spring Budget will bring good news in the form of tax savings for small businesses. These could come through reductions in various taxes or by raising thresholds that relieve smaller businesses from the complex web of tax obligations. This would not only help businesses grow but also stimulate overall economic growth.

Stay tuned for the budget announcement, and consider how these changes could impact your business.